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Critics say Trump birth control rule ignores science

FILE - In this Aug. 26, 2016, file photo, a one-month dosage of hormonal birth control pills is displayed in Sacramento, Calif. The Trump administration’s new birth control rule is raising questions among some doctors and researchers. They say it overlooks known benefits of contraception while selectively citing data that raise doubts about effectiveness and safety. Recently issued rules allow more employers to opt out of covering birth control as a preventive benefit for women under former President Barack Obama’s health care law.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

While I applaud the 8th Circuit Court’s ruling allowing Planned Parenthood to expand abortion access and I am glad that pro-choice activists are continuing to help women prevent unintended pregnancies through better methods of birth control and improved sex education, President Donald Trump’s decision to roll back the birth control mandate does just the opposite.

Simply put, all women deserve access to comprehensive birth control, without a copay, no matter where they work. President Trump’s actions have just made it increasingly difficult for women to access the care they need. Denial of essential health coverage based on an employer’s religious or moral beliefs is yet another attack on reproductive freedom in this country.

The most effective way to reduce unintended pregnancy is through removing barriers to highly effective birth control. Contraceptive choice makes that possible, but when you put women’s health in the hands of their employers, schools or insurance companies, it puts  million of lives at risk.

The new mandate is part of a concerning trend in the Trump administration and Republican leadership in Congress attempting to strip away women’s rights. The fact that we’re still having this debate in 2017 just reaffirms how far the clock has been set back in terms of reproductive justice. We have to do better. Women deserve better.

Joy Kudia  •  St. Louis